Bosses at Louis Vuitton must be smiling like Cheshire cats, grinning from ear to ear, maybe even turning cartwheels – as well they should be. Fashion is in the flux of a game of musical chairs, again, and even the houses that aren’t, rumours will always circulate around them. But wow did Vuitton get it right when it hired Nicolas Ghesquière, who presented another stellar collection at the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation this morning on the final day of Paris Fashion Week.
A computerised voice introduced the spring/summer 2016 show as “A journey to the frontiers of the digital era”. Who knew where Ghesquière’s spirited parade of intergalactic punky girls were headed? Through some virtual parallel universe or to some underground nightclub – wherever it was, with that awesome wardrobe, we wanted in.
Inspired by the heroines in video games: be they slayers, warriors, or upstart vixens, he hit refresh on the urban wardrobe and it packed a powerful punch. Models whose hands were banded in leather ready for fighting had a gait that was fast and mechanical. They wore rebooted kilts in studded leather with looped strapping, waistcoats in the classic graphic damier check, or leather jackets dripping in jangling zips and tricks with sleeves painted in red stripes and the house signature monogram.
A series of over-dyed washed silks were worked into jumpsuits, ankle-skimming gowns with studded bibs, or into a trench coat that looked like buttery suede. Ghesquière also brought back the return of colour-blocked Bermuda shorts and the bubble skirt, that Eighties favourite, now reprised in white cotton poplin. Their armoury included the mini locket bag studded and tasselled, and a larger carryall; imagine a bin bag bunched at the top, and carried on its side. Grounded with whip-stitched creeper sandals or polished steel toe-cap cowboy boots, it was romantic and tough in equal measures, and mined the house’s savoir-faire; craftsmanship was as much front and centre as the fantastical ideas. This was Ghesquière’s best collection yet, and a highlight of the entire season.